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US wants more from Africa

The US has urged African countries to fulfil their obligations under the terms of Agoa, a preferential trade program of considerable benefit to Kenya. More than 66,000 jobs in Kenya are linked to Agoa, which earned the country a huge amount in textiles and apparel exports last year. Kenya is a member-state of the East African Community.

The US feels countries currently benefiting from trade preferences granted by the African Growth and Opportunity Act should continue complying with eligibility requirements established by US law.

The US-based Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association has lodged a complaint with a US trade agency alleging that EAC countries violated Agoa’s terms by deciding to bar imports of used clothing from the US beginning in 2019. The association wants the EAC countries declared ineligible to take part in Agoa.

The US has hinted that Agoa, which gives 37 countries duty-free access to the US market for many products, may not be the preferred instrument for trade relations with African nations. It feels that bilateral trade agreements rather than large multilateral deals can be very effective tools for African development.

The US further wants African countries to treat US companies favorably and ensure they are in the best position possible to enter African markets.